Tag Archives: the shadow glass

Review: The Shadow Glass TPB

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A young student to England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from childhood teacher Dr. John Dee, the queen’s occult adviser.

Not all is at it seems in The Shadow Glass written by Aly Fell who also provides the art. While the twists are almost continuous throughout the book, the complexity of each one varies. Despite that increasing complexity, the book is an engaging and entertaining read. The Shadow Glass follows the journey of the mysterious obsidian mirror, with strange properties. This a must have for fans of historical fiction and action adventure.

The art is polished, and (relatively) historically accurate. Allowing for a solid flow from panel to panel as the story unfolds. The action scenes are superb, even if they are short.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Shadow Glass #3

25076Rosalind witnesses her father and John Dee summoning a demon but decides she is the only one who can prevent the Shadow Glass, and the entity bound to it, from being used for evil purposes.

The Shadow Glass #3 finally reveals the mysterious being known as Madimi. Even though the more they summon her, it does beg a few questions. Why do her and Rosalind have a similar appearance? Is there more to the mysterious Madimi than there appears? I will admit the odd but, brilliant ending, makes one wanting more and I’m looking forward to the next issue due to that.

The great change in Madimi’s appearance is shocking, and gorgeous. Even though it does answer one of the questions she is often asked when she is summoned. It does leave one to wonder, what side if anyone is she on?

Aly Fell continues to do double duty on this series and it’s entertaining in story and look.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Shadow Glass #2

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Rosalind’s search for the truth about her past brings her face to face with her father at the home of her tutor, where the two men are set to perform a conjuration to loose the powers of a powerful object that pulls Rosalind in as well.

In The Shadow Glass #2, written by Aly Fell, things get complicated as Rosalind’s father returns, except he doesn’t seem to remember her. Since they haven’t seen each other this actually makes sense and is understandable, yet his repeating the word “familiar,” is suspicious. This issue also reveals the violent origins of the Shadow Glass. As the issue ends, the Shadow Glass is used. Calling forth something that looks oddly familiar.

The art by Fell (who pulls double duty) is superb. I will admit the last page, where the summoning happens is filled with a sense of supernatural color. I’m not going to reveal what they summon, but you may end up doing a double take, or two.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Shadow Glass #1

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A young student of England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from her childhood teacher Dr. John Dee, the queen’s occult adviser.

Strange, intricate, dark, and an impressive read. While 16th century fantasy isn’t common, this comic will be enjoyed fans of both traditional and modern fantasy. The series manages to bring in a slight element of mysticism in the form of the mysterious glass disk. While the disk comes from some place far away, that is one of the few things that are revealed about it. I’m curious to see how they tie that in, as the characters interact in the world. Especially as more of Rose finds out who her true father is.

The art is equally as impressive as the story is. While I doubt some the clothing could be considered historically accurate, it is drawn with great detail. Even the few brief glimpses of the mysterious shadow glass, shows that something seems to be alive in it. It may not be fully revealed yet, it makes one wonder why it possess an inner light.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Shadow Glass #1

The Shadow Glass #1 1The Shadow Glass has an amazing premise, an unusual setting, and a potentially fascinating main character.

Aly Fell sets this historical horror story in Elizabethan London, centered around a fictional version of real-life court magician John Dee. An archetypal “Renaissance Man” in every sense, Dee’s “magic” blended early modern Christian mysticism, science, and entertainment–and inspired literary figures from Prospero to Doctor Strange.

Pop-culture representations of Early Modern England tend to get stuck in cliches about Shakespearean romantic comedy or witch-craze horror. So it’s refreshing that Fell has realized the fantastic potential of Renaissance magic as historical source material. Basically, as soon as I heard about this book, I couldn’t wait to pick it up.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the actual experience of reading Shadow Glass #1.

For starters, I had difficulty really getting immersed in the story because of its uneven tone. Fell has clearly done some careful research about Elizabethan history and culture, but doesn’t seem sure how to deploy it. His detailed drawings of clothing and architecture are fantastic–whether Fell is drawing sunny Tudor houses or dark, musty interiors, the art instantly transports you to this strange fictional world with admirable specificity and detail.

In contrast, the first two pages start with a cheesy, very extensive description of what sixteenth-century London looks and smells and feels like.

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Is this book trying to immerse us in a vivid historical setting, or to set up an ironic, pulpy tone? To be clear, either would be fine! There’s nothing wrong with luxurious supernatural-historical comics-verité… or with ironically purple prose.  But the overall effect is uneven and mixed, like Shadow Glass can’t fully commit to how seriously–or non-seriously–it wants to take itself.

It’s also in the first few pages that Shadow Glass is most riveting and well-paced, as we (barely) glimpse the terrible magical horror at the heart of the story: a fateful betrayal twenty years before the main action. This is the best, most interesting part of the story so far: a short flashback about actual magic. By contrast, the rest of issue #1 is mostly the young protagonist, Rosalind, asking earnest questions of old men who are hiding things from her. Any sense of mystery, as well as Rosalind’s entire motivation (discovering the dark secrets in her family’s past) is undermined by this flashback. I can’t help but think that the structure of this book would be much more interesting if Rosalind’s knowledge (or lack thereof) lined up with the reader’s. Otherwise, we’re just watching a character find out what we already know.

On the surface, Rosalind is everything I like in a heroine. She’s determined, brave, and plain-spoken. She’s named after one of my favorite characters, and she dresses like my namesake Molly Frith. I mean, she’s a sword-fighting student of a legendary magician! (What’s not to love?)

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But in practice, Rosalind is a bit of a blank slate. Fell draws her with confused wide eyes and a soft, slack mouth as she asks “Father…? Father? Father?” again and again and again.

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(Seriously, the word makes up a disconcertingly high percentage of her dialogue.)

I get the sense that Rosalind is supposed to be a nascent adventurer coming into her own, but we’re not seeing much of that side of her yet. She’s reduced to a girl in search of old men’s answers, defined by the sins of her father(s), and the exact nature of her education under Dee is completely passed over… at least for now.

To be fair, none of these criticisms should be the final word on Shadow Glass. This won’t be the last issue I’ll read, because it’s still entirely possible that issue #2 will more fully develop Fell’s potentially fascinating alt-historical world, or give some depth to his potentially fascinating heroine. These might be the awkward birthing pains of a solid new series, or they might be fundamental flaws.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story: 6 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Wait and See

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

jupiterscircle-vol2-04-coverThe weekend is almost here! What will folks be doing? Anything geeky? Sound off in the comments below!

While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Paste Magazine – Michael Keaton To Star In Film Adaptation of American Assassin Graphic Novel – Nice.

The BoomBox – Dr. Dre Is Creating Original Music for Graphic Novel ‘Loaded’ – Very interesting.

ICv2 – B&N Plans ‘Batman v Superman’ Day – Not too surprising. You’d think more would do this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Action Comics #50

Talking Comics – The Baker Street Peculiars #1

Batman News – General Mills Batman v Superman #2

CBR – Jupiter’s Circle Vol. 2 #4

Talking Comics – Mockingbird #1

Talking Comics – Shadow Glass #1

Early Review: The Shadow Glass #1

The Shadow Glass #1 1Pomp and circumstance and any mention of the middle ages bring about images of Shakespeare and The Plague. Medieval England, has been romanticized in many books, and was deftly re-imagined in Marvel 1602, an excellent book which took familiar modern characters, and put them in the Medieval Ages, in a world where you have the Xmen speaking in iambic pentameter and Captain America was a Native American. I wish this world where magic, heroism in a highly elegant world was explored more in comic books.

The hero’s journey more than a few times has shown that the hero has many different shades and appearances, and often emerging in the character the reader least expects to rise to the occasion .The best example of this is everybody’s favorite rogue, Han Solo, who at the beginning of New Hope , was your average soldier of fortune, who had a ship he could pilot and was willing to go anywhere for the money, as he was very cynical of Jedi mythology. By The Return of the Jedi, you has not only become an integral part of the Rebellion, but a general and Luke’s best friend. As we catch up with him in The Force Awakens, his not only a witness to this world, but a wary traveler , who sacrifices himself for the greater good, just as any hero would, much like Amberle in the TV adaptation of the Shannara Chronicles.

Medieval sorcery is at the core of this book, as sorcery and supernatural devices are dead center of this story, as we are introduced to star crossed lovers Arabella and Thomas, as they discover a mysterious looking glass, that is more than it appears, leaving everyone involved indelibly marked. Fast forward, we meet Rosalind, the year is 1582, a well to do heiress of an estate I s on her way home to visit her father, she finds him in an uneasy state, were he breaks not one but two big secrets or rather lies that she has been living for twenty years. With the shocking news, she goes to meet the one person who she canf solace, but she meets someone totally unexpected at truly at the most inopportune time. By issue’s end, the reader is faced with the same dilemmas as the characters, what is the shadow glass? And why are the circumstances they way they are?

What started off as another hero in hiding much like Luke in Star Wars or Arthur in the short lived Camelot, has way more surprises and mysteries than when started. The story by Aly Fell, is well researched and very much true to the time period, but most importantly, exhilarating. The art by Aly Fell, is beautiful and enigmatic, evoking medieval paintings in every panel. Overall, a strong start to an enveloping mystery, which as I can tell, will reward the reader with surprises every issue.

Story: Aly Fell Art: Aly Fell
Story:9.5 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Shadow Glass #1 (of 6)

THE SHADOW GLASS #1 (of 6)

Aly Fell (W), Aly Fell (A)

A young student of England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from her childhood teacher Dr. John Dee, the queen’s occult adviser.

The Shadow Glass #1 1